News from

Over the past few years, the BA and MA programs in American Studies at ASL went through an extensive evaluation process that culminated in both of our programs being newly accredited. The accreditation certifies that our BA and MA have met the standards and criteria of both internal and external evaluation committees. The accreditation lasts until 2030.

The lengthy process included multiple reviews internal to Leipzig University, student surveys and evaluations about the entire programs, as well as a multi-step external evaluation by a committee of experts. In a final report, this committee evaluated both programs very favorably, among others noting their clear structure, their interdisciplinary and international focus, their practical elements (like the professional skills modules iTASK and iCAN), and the friendly atmosphere among students and instructors as especially positive.

As part of this accreditation and evaluation process, the official study and exam regulations (Studienordnung/Prüfungsordnung) for our BA and MA programs have been updated, partly via recommendations from the evaluation committee. These new regulations will go into effect with the upcoming winter term of 2023/24. As soon as the new official documents are available via the central Leipzig University administration, we will replace the current documents found on our website. In the meantime, we wanted to provide you with a brief overview of some of the most important changes for BA and MA students:

BA American Studies

  • There is now more flexibility in choosing your SQ modules (professional skills modules): Besides the mandatory iTASK module, you are free to choose the rest of the 20 credits that you need from a combination of SQ modules from within the Philological Department, from the cross-department SQ modules, or the ASL internship module or study-abroad module.
  • There is also more flexibility in choosing your core electives (Wahlpflicht modules), with only two modules from the 2nd-year modules and one module form the 3rd-year modules being required, which means that the fourth module of your core electives can be freely picked among 2nd- and 3rd-year modules (as long as you have completed the appropriate prerequisite modules). This is also already mentioned in the updated program overview.
  • The 5th-semester project module now contains an additional tutorial that takes up the content of the first 1st-semester module iTASK in order to help you reflect on how your study and career plans have developed in the meantime and to prepare you for the culmination of your BA program.
  • The module Ethnicity and Diversity I now includes a ‘Projektarbeit’ consisting of a presentation in the tutorial and a paper in the seminar.

MA American Studies

  • The core elective modules in the 2nd and the 3rd semester were revamped and updated to fit ASL’s current research profile. The new module titles can be seen in the updated program overview.
  • The workload for the 2nd- and 3rd-semester modules has been spread more evenly throughout the semester. Previously, you would write 6 research papers in the 6 modules you take in the 2nd and 3rd semesters. In the new regulations, you complete only 4 of these modules with a seminar paper and 2 others with a portfolio exam (which consists of multiple smaller assignments to be completed while classes are in session, leaving more time in the semester break for the two seminar papers in the other modules). You can freely choose which specific modules you'd like to complete with which exam.
    • For administrative purposes, all of these 2nd- and 3rd-semester modules will exist in two variants, a ‘research-paper variant’ (officially subtitled “Research Project”) and a ‘portfolio variant’ (officially subtitled “Academic Discourse”), and every semester, you have to select in which two modules you want to pursue a research project and in which one you want to go for a portfolio exam when you register for your modules via TOOL. If you have questions about this registration procedure, please feel free to contact your study advisers during or before the enrollment phase.
  • One of these two portfolio modules can still be replaced by the internship or study-abroad module, or you can replace it with a new module called “Interdisciplinary and Transnational Perspectives in American Studies” that is meant to make recognizing classes from other programs easier.
  • For the seminar papers in the MA, you now have 8 weeks (instead of 6) to hand them in.

What Do Students Need to Do?

When the winter term 2023/24 begins, all current students will be transferred into the new regulations. In a few cases, this might make it necessary to have modules recognized that you previously completed but that do not exist anymore in this exact form in the new regulations. This should generally not affect BA students, but if it does, please contact your study adviser for credit transfer individually.

For MA students, the procedure is slightly different:

  • MA students who, in their studies so far, have completed more than 4 of their core elective modules (those from the 2nd and 3rd semester) will have completed ‘too many’ modules of the research-paper variant according to the new regulations. In such cases, your ‘additional’ research-paper modules can be recognized as portfolio-variant modules if students wish to do so. If you want this, please contact the Exams Office on your own in order to initiate this process.
  • If your situation is more complex than this (e.g., in case you have completed an older module a long time ago and there is no clear equivalent to it in the new regulations), then please contact your study adviser for credit transfer.

Please only start contacting us and/or the Exams Office about these kinds of credit transfer once the winter term has begun, since the new regulations will only be implemented on Almaweb starting in October. (If you are still finishing your studies within the current summer term, you do not need to do anything regarding this kind of credit transfer.)

For more general questions about this or about enrollment in the winter term, feel free to contact us anytime, of course.